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For the month of June, the Read With Jenna book club pick is "These Impossible Things" by Salma El-Wardany. The novel rotates between the perspective of three best friends, all Muslim British women, as they embark through the loves, losses and challenges of their early 20s, which define their characters and shape their friendships.
If you loved this novel about women shaping their own paths, balancing independence with tradition and dreams with family's expectations, El-Wardany has recommendations for follow-up reads.
Books to read after "These Impossible Things"
"There is no one who writes the intricacies of womanhood better than Lisa Taddeo. She captures feelings and moments that I have barely been able to process," El-Wardany said to TODAY via email.
Taddeo rose to fame with the non-fiction book "Three Women," which — like El-Wardany's book — followed three women.
"This is a breathtakingly honest portrayal of motherhood that sent shivers down my spine. Ashley Audrain writes with such brevity and beauty that I couldn’t put the book down," El-Wardany said.
"The Push" is set during the early post-partum days, when one woman begins to look into – maybe too far into — her daughter's behavior.
"Madeline Miller writes with such beauty that I want to stop and read her sentences twice, just to savor them," El-Wardany said of this novel, which is narrated by Circe, the sorceress whom Odysseus meets on his journey back to Ithaca. "A glorious re-telling of a goddess through the eyes of a woman, which of course, reframes everything you thought you knew."
"A gorgeous look into the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. Rebecca Wells tells this story with such grace and care that I fell in love with it years ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it since," El-Wardany said of the classic novel.
El-Wardany called "Such a Fun Age" a "wonderfully written novel that explores the grit and pain in relationships between women, especially when power and race come into the equation." The novel follows the intersections of class, race and age in America through two characters, brought together by a nannying job.
"This one isn’t about women, but it’s written by a woman who writes so beautifully it brought me to tears and has left a hole in my heart ever since. I couldn’t ever recommend a book, and not include 'A Little Life,'" El-Wardany said.
For more book recommendations, check out:
- Read With Jenna Jr.: See all 27 books on the kid-friendly reading list
- R.L. Stine on 30 years of ‘Goosebumps’ and how he almost never wrote scary kids’ book
- All of Jenna Bush Hager's book club picks